Democrats just got some more bad news as they head into the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential elections.
The Republican Party has now taken the edge and made Florida officially a red state, which could have devastating consequences for Democrats, Politico reported.
Voter registration data collected by the state and shared with POLITICO shows that there are now 6,035 more voters registered as Republicans than Democrats out of 14.3 million active registered voters. Each party has more than 5.1 million voters.
“This is a milestone moment in Florida’s history,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida.
Democrats — who once had solid control at all levels of elected office until Republicans won the Legislature and governor’s mansion in the ‘90s — held a substantial edge in voter registration just a few years ago.
During the 2010 midterms, amid the tea party wave and the election of Rick Scott to governor, Democrats had a nearly 568,000 voter advantage. That fell to 264,000 in 2018 when DeSantis barely defeated former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by more than 32,000 votes to become the state’s 46th governor. Democrats also were ahead of Republicans by more than 134,000 registered voters last year when President Donald Trump comfortably defeated Joe Biden in the state.
DeSantis, who has pushed the Republican Party of Florida to expand its registration efforts and even contributed $2 million to the effort, correctly predicted earlier this month that his party had overtaken Democrats, a factor he attributed in part to people migrating to Florida due to anti-lockdown, anti-mandate policies he pushed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures he quipped that if so many Republican voters had not left New Jersey for the Sunshine State that Gov. Phil Murphy would have been defeated.
“You are seeing people move to states that value freedom,” he said.
Jose Parra, a spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party, tried to find a silver lining on Wednesday.
“At the end of the day all eligible voters can walk into a polling place and vote, not just active voters, and Democrats still hold the lead in eligible voters,” he said. “Republicans have been playing shell games with our voters by disproportionately moving massive numbers of people who can still vote to inactive status and have purged many others from the list altogether.”
Still it is tougher to get non-active eligible voters to the polls and it continues a disturbing trend for Democrats who are seeing increasing retirements among its members.
Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leavy, the president pro tempore of the Senate, won’t seek reelection next year.
Leahy, who has been in the Senate after nearly 50 years, announced on Monday that he will not run for a ninth term.
“It is time to put down the gavel. It is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter, who will carry on this work for our great state,” Leahy said Monday. “It is time to come home.”
“Just 34 years old when he joined the Senate, Leahy won his first two elections narrowly before cruising comfortably in every election since 1986. During his tenure, Leahy served as chair of the Agriculture, Judiciary and Appropriations committees, taking the gavel at Appropriations when Democrats won back control of the Senate earlier this year,” Politico reported.
“Leahy is in his second stint as president pro tempore of the Senate, putting him third in the line of presidential succession. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California — who was first elected 17 years after Leahy — is the next-longest-tenured Democrat in the chamber, followed by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington,” the report added.
Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth also announced this month that he will not be seeking reelection after serving thirteen years in Congress and becoming one of the most powerful liberals in Washington DC.
Yarmuth’s announcement is a blow for Democrats who hold a slim majority in the chamber and must now field a new candidate for his US House seat.
Yarmuth, the lone Democrat to represent Kentucky, also serves as the chair of the House Budget Committee, which is helping to steer President Joe Biden’s social safety net agenda through snags that have come up in negotiations.
“Truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress this long. I always said I couldn’t imagine being here longer than 10 years” he said in a video announcing his retirement. “After every election, I was asked how long I intended to serve, and I never had an answer. Today, I do. This term will be my last.”